Sex doll mistaken as angel by Indonesian villagers

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After a solar eclipse last month, a fisher in Indonesia's Banggai island region found a female figure floating in the sea. He brought the figure to his remote village where some believed it to be a bidadari, a kind of angel.

Police noticed images of the figure on social media along with reports that the fisher spotted the angel "stranded and crying." The police investigated and quickly determined that the angel was in fact a sex doll. According to the BBC, the police confiscated the doll. What a shame.

"They have no internet, they don't know what a sex toy is," the police chief said.

(BBC)

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Internet Talk Radio: Podcasting Like It Was 1993

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In 1993, I started a radio station on the Internet, engaging in activities that later became known as podcasting and webcasting. I'm pleased to say that I've finished uploaded the archive of Internet Talk Radio to the Internet Archive.

I ran the radio station from 1993-1996, and it was an exciting time on the Internet. Our flagship program was Geek of the Week, but we also were able to get one of the broadcast booths in the National Press Club to send out their luncheons, and joined the Public Radio Satellite system so we send out programs like TechNation. It was early in the digital world, so we were able to convince Harper Collins to give us Internet rights to Harper Audio, an amazing collection of people like Anne Sexton, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Frank Herbert and J.R.R. Tolkien reading their own work. We also managed to get official Congressional press credentials and ran tie lines into the basement of the Capitol to send out live feeds from the floors of the House and Senate.

We also did a lot of special programs (check out John Perry Barlow, Cliff Stoll and the United Nations 50th Anniversary and published some really cool SoundBytes you could use for alerts and notifications, and had a thriving Christmas practice going until Santa got mailbombed in a nasty DDOS incident. I also uploaded some early press coverage and some of the presentations and letters in my files.

We ran Internet Talk Radio as a nonprofit corporation called the Internet Multicasting Service. Read the rest

New study: Air rage triggered by walking through First Class

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A new scientific study reveals that air rage is much more likely on airplanes where inequality is obvious -- that is, airplanes where there's economy and first class sections. The University of Toronto researchers published their results in the journal Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. From CNN:

It found that passengers in economy seating were 3.84 times more likely to have an incident of air rage if they were on a plane that had a first-class section. They were 2.18 times more likely to have an outburst if they had to walk through first class to board the plane, as opposed to boarding in the middle of the plane, directly into the economy section....

"Psychology (research) tells us that when people feel a sense of deprivation and inequality, they are more likely to act out," said Katherine A. DeCelles, associate professor of organizational behavior at the University of Toronto....

There was also a nearly 12-fold increase in the rate of air rage among first-class passengers on flights where all passengers boarded through the first-class section, compared with flights that had separate entrances for first class and economy.

"When people from higher social class backgrounds are more aware of their higher status, they are more likely to be antisocial, to have entitled attitudes and to be less compassionate," DeCelles said.

"Air rage triggered by walking past first-class seating, study says" (CNN) Read the rest

UK nuclear power plant will be the most expensive object on Earth

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The proposed nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, UK is estimated to cost $35 billion. The BBC compares the price tag to other big ticket items:

For that sum you could build a small forest of Burj Khalifas - the world's tallest building, in Dubai, cost a piffling £1bn ($1.5bn). You could also knock up more than 70 miles of particle accelerator. The 17-mile-long Large Hadron Collider, built under the border between France and Switzerland to unlock the secrets of the universe, cost a mere £4bn ($5.8bn).

The most expensive bridge ever constructed is the eastern replacement span of the Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco, designed to withstand the strongest earthquake seismologists would expect within the next 1,500 years. That cost about £4.5bn ($6.5bn).

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More Google Earth anomalies

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Artist Clement Valla collects the most remarkable machine-vision nightmares and curiosities from Google Earth, a world whose parallels to our own become uncannier with each sweep of the satellites and Googlecars. [Previously. via] Read the rest

Watch these bulldozers battle over turf, for real

In China's Hebei Province, bulldozers from competing construction companies battled it reportedly over a business opportunity. According to ABC News, police finally put a stop to the insanity and two drivers were injured. Perhaps the operators have been watching too many Survival Research Labs performance videos.

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Japanese teen girl metal band Babymetal performs on Colbert

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Babymetal made their US TV debut when they performed their song "Gimme Chocolate!!" on Colbert's Late Show last night. Read the rest

Nixon's war on drugs was a war against blacks and the antiwar left

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In Dan Baum's excellent article in Harper's about the devastating consequences of the US government's war on drugs, there's a revealing quote from John Ehrlichman, Nixon's Watergate co-conspirator:

I’d tracked Ehrlichman, who had been Nixon’s domestic-policy adviser, to an engineering firm in Atlanta, where he was working on minority recruitment. I barely recognized him. He was much heavier than he’d been at the time of the Watergate scandal two decades earlier, and he wore a mountain-man beard that extended to the middle of his chest.

At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. “You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

I must have looked shocked.

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Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford dead at 46

Toronto Mayor Ford makes his closing remarks during a mayoral debate hosted by the Canadian Tamil Congress in Scarborough

Rob Ford, the former Toronto mayor famous for political scandals and drug abuse, is dead at 46. He was suffering from pleomorphic liposarcoma, a rare form of cancer.

In 2013, the Star revealed that Ford had attended a military ball intoxicated and then that a cellphone video apparently showed him smoking crack. That bombshell triggered months of controversy and worldwide headlines as Ford angrily denied, and then finally admitted, abusing drugs and alcohol. Council stripped him of most of his powers. …

In October 2014, following his re-election as councillor and in between chemotherapy treatments, Ford talked to reporters about his legacy. “People know that I saved a lot of money, and people are going to know that I had a few personal struggles,” he said. “So you can remember it for what you want, but they’re definitely going to remember it.”

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The Republican Munsters

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Chuck Ungar did a terrific job pasting the heads of Cruz, Rubio, and Trump onto Grandpa, Eddie, and Herman. Great lettering, too.

Here's the original for comparison:

[via] Read the rest

Mein Drumpf

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Welcome to what may well be our future, America.

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Scan of original 1977 35mm print of Star Wars released online

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A restored high-definition digital scan, taken from 35mm prints of the original, unmolested version of Star Wars, is now available online to those who are looking. May the celluloid be with you. Always.
While this isn't the first time that attempts have been made to restore Star Wars to its original theatrical version—that's the one without the much-maligned CGI effects and edits of later "special" editions—it is the first to have been based entirely on a single 35mm print of the film, rather than cut together from various sources.

Here's a post from the team who located usable prints and spent years working on their restoration.

Despite having access to the original source, and to all the cleaned footage as the project progressed, I was still completely blown away by the final version. I had no idea it could look so good! Honestly! Way back at the start I had created a comparison clip with the 2006 Bonus DVD on top and the raw scan of LPP on the bottom, in order to see which frames (if any) were missing from the print, and I remember being rather alarmed that it made the GOUT look good!:

Creator George Lucas said, in disowning his original work, that all the copies of it were destroyed. "The only issue with Team Negative 1's version of the film," reports Mark Walton, "is that it isn't exactly legal."

Here it is, compared to the official Blu-Ray:

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Gripping article about Tumblr, teens and the rise and fall of bloggers

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Read Elspeth Reeve's fabulous article about Pizza, one of the most popular Tumblogs, the "secret lives" of Tumblr Teens, and mistakes made.

It has everything. The wonderful creativity of the users; its incomprehensible architecture; the emergent support mechanisms; the toxic call-out culture; and everything ultimately, inevitably being ruined after Yahoo buys it.

Then it happened. On August 19, just days before his twentieth birthday, Lilley tried to log in to So-Relatable but couldn’t. Greenfield checked the site, which redirected to an error page: “There’s nothing here. Whatever you were looking for doesn’t currently exist at this address.” They’d been terminated, their blogs revoked by Tumblr for violating its terms of service.

Tumblr had just dissolved the sites of some of its most popular teenage users, an estimated 30 million follows gone. Including Pizza. Blogs that had brought relief from unremitting high school agony and then miraculously made their teen creators more money than they could have ever imagined, were erased from the internet, except for fragments reblogged on other sites. The day before, if they’d had a funny thought, they could share it with half a million people. And now, nothing.

The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens [New Republic] Read the rest

Hackers demand $3.6m bitcoin ransom to unlock Los Angeles hospital medical records

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A cyberattack on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center's computer system has locked up access vital patient data, and the hackers responsible are demanding payment of over 9000 bitcoins ($3.6 million) to unlock the data.

From IBT:

An unnamed doctor has admitted that the hospital's computer system was hacked and is currently being held for ransom, adding that departments are now communicating through fax machines because they have no access to email. Furthermore, a number of patients have been transferred to other hospitals.

Meanwhile, a separate report by Fox (Los Angeles) reaffirmed that the cyberattack has directly affected the 'day-to-day' operations of the hospital.

Image: Shutterstock Read the rest

Space tourism posters from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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What a delight: NASA itself published a series of retrofuturistic tourism posters for other worlds. Better yet, the images are less unfree, though they also sell prints. I'm off to the exoplanets, see ya!

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Trump and Sanders take New Hampshire

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Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders won their respective primary elections in New Hampshire today. Trump, with about a third of the votes, prevailed over John Kasich, with Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush in a virtual tie for third as of 10:30 p.m. Sanders won 58% of the Democrat vote, to Hillary Clinton's 40%; Clinton's concession speech was well-received and conciliatory, suggesting that the ground underfoot has definitively moved left.

Somewhere, Chris Christie is bullying an underling, burning himself out so he can quit without looking like a total asshole on TV. His greatest achievement in the race, nuking Marco Rubio's surge from orbit, offers a delicious irony: no-one has ever so completely proven that debates matter, yet gained so little from having done so. There are now many "Marco Rubio robot" nicknames in circulation. The correct one is Rubot.

Meanwhile, in old Hampshire, English coastguards have told children to stop playing on the beach during storms, and a legendary local stray cat that lived at a bus stop died of "horrific injuries," having been run over, possibly by a bus.

Update: beaten to it by Xeni. Read the rest

FBI arrests nearly all of the top officials of Crystal City, Tex.

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The FBI have arrested five of the six top officials of the town of Crystal City, Texas, accusing them of taking bribes and allowing an illegal gambling operation to run in the town of 7,500 people.

According to the indictment, those in the town leadership who were charged “used their official positions to enrich themselves by soliciting and accepting payments and other things of value” from [alleged gambling operator, Ngoc Tri Nguyen] and others. The document accuses the officials of voting to award contracts in exchange for bribes, extorting payments from contractors, turning a blind eye to Nguyen’s illegal gaming business while taking action to shut down would-be competitors, and agreeing to reduce Nguyen’s taxes in exchange for him waiving debts, among other dealings. Mayor Ricardo Lopez, the indictment alleges, instructed city inspectors to “make it easy” while looking at Nguyen’s property. Authorities said he also made extra effort to shut down other operators of “8-liner” gaming rooms, which are nominally illegal in Texas but flourish informally in the southern part of the state. In exchange, he allegedly accepted $6,000 from Nguyen to buy a car.

(Image: Photo of beautiful, bustling Crystal City Billy Hathorn/Wikipedia) Read the rest

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